Alaska’s salmon season started with a bang in some areas and a bang in others, while some areas will have to wait until the fish arrive to predict their seasons.
On June 26, the total landings for all salmon species were up to 7.75 million, of which 59,000 were chinooks, 1.6 million chums, 2,000 cohos, 1 million pinks and 5.1 million sockeyes. Copper River Salmon made its annual debut with an opening on May 16th.
The first fish to hit the Pike Place Market in Seattle brought retail prices up to $ 125 per barrel. pounds for chinooks. Various 8-ounce cuts were sold for around $ 90 per pound, making the price more tasty for diners waiting in anticipation.
Copper River sockeye is sold in retail for about $ 75 per pound, but prices usually fall as other salmon fisheries come online to fill the hungry supply chain for fresh produce.
At the fishing grounds, the early fishing hype for fishermen translated to $ 16.50 per pound for chinooks and $ 11.50 per pound for sockeyes.
As of June 26, the Copper River fleet had landed 10,000 chinooks and 416,000 sockeye, and many had already taken the step to fish favorite areas in Prince William Sound. Landings in the Øresund Eshamy district were at 254,000 sockeyes on 26 June.
“The apartments were good,” said Justin Hansen, a crew member at Raging Bull. “Prices were high for everyone in the fleet.”
Prince William Sound seine vessels tuned to early comrades had landed 371,000 comrades in the general seine category, while a further 316,000 came from hatchery harvesters.
The last week of June, Bristol Bay gillnet fish under a management plan, affectionately known as “free week”. While it is difficult to determine whether catches herald poor or monster-sockeye return, anecdotal reports from around the districts suggest the bay may be heading for a harvest that could potentially hit a record 60 million sockeye.
Southeast Alaska’s gillnets got their first opener on June 19, and Lynn Canal fishermen targeting early mates delivered an average of £ 1,000 to the first opener.
By June 26, the fleet had landed 10,000 chums.
“Sure to say, we are not starting with a bang,” says Lindsey Bloom, who fished the opener on the canal aboard the Rainy Dawn. She texted a few days later to say that “my husband is out in this opener without us because of the Little League Championship, but it sounds like it has gotten better from last week.”
Meanwhile, the trolls of the spring season in the Southeast had harvested a harvest of 10,000 chinooks per. 26th of June. The fisheries management plan for non-terminal (not near birth flows) chinooks opens fishing periods by emergency order based on an abundance index. The summer season for troll fishing is scheduled to open on July 1st.
Kodiak Island started its salmon season in early June. According to the latest Alaska Division of Fish and Game blue sheets, landings there counted up to 338,000 sockeyes and 72,000 chums.
The New Dawn was out working on robes along Prince William Sound. Clifton Ivanoff, who is fishing with his brother, Reuben, reports that their newly retrofitted boat is doing well (see ‘New sprays in Alaska, ‘in NF June 11).
“Every improvement makes you wonder why you waited so long to upgrade,” he says.
South Alaska Peninsula seiners, driftnets and anglers started their season in early June, and by ADF & G’s blue sheet, they had caught 3.9 million sockeyes, 353,000 chums and nearly 1 million pinks. It’s a healthy display of early pink colors, and while annual returns with even numbers generally don’t produce as much as the year of odd numbers, the area can accommodate a few surprises before the season typically ends in late August.
Other areas to see when the calendar turns into July will be Cook Inlet, Kuskokwim Bay and Norton and Kotzebue Sound. Super low-level escape via sonar counts in the Yukon River has put commercial and subsistence fishing on hold indefinitely, and the Kuskokwim River appears to be heading for the same forecast.